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GRIGA – A New Era for the Imaging Industry

3 Nov, 2010

GRIGA – A New Era for the Imaging Industry

Zhuhai, China (Sept. 2010) - The charter meeting  of the Global Remanufacturing Industry General Assembly (GRIGA), held on September 25 in Zhuhai, China, ran as flawlessly and precise as a Swiss watch. This inaugural event signals a new era for the imaging industry: one of international communication and collaboration.

GRIGA provided a new forum for delegates from international trade associations, industry media and entrepreneurs of the world to join together and discuss common issues faced by the industry as a whole. Chairmen Art Diamond and Arnald Ho, together with seven guest speakers from America, China, India, The Netherlands, Russia and the United Kingdom, addressed key issues in the imaging supplies aftermarket and hosted open and productive discussions with 211 delegates in attendance from 13 countries and world regions.

“One purpose of this Assembly,” said Tony Lee, Managing Director of Recycling Times Media Corporation and the initiator and organizer of GRIGA, “was to enhance worldwide understanding of trends, directions and standards in the development of the copier and printer consumables aftermarket. Another objective was to share the experience of promoting eco-friendly, remanufactured products and the remanufacturing philosophy with the public, thereby promoting the healthy and steady growth of the remanufacturing industry around the globe. I believe the event achieved all these things and more.”

At this first assembly, it was unanimously agreed that GRIGA should be held at least once each year as an international conference for the global cartridge remanufacturing industry. GRIGA’s mission and goals also won resounding applause from the delegates for the following resolution:

The Assembly’s mission is to convene national leaders in an environment of equality, communication and collaboration, so as to enhance worldwide understanding of trends, directions and standards in the development of this industry. Another goal is to promote eco-friendly, remanufactured products and to educate consumers, businesses and government agencies on the economic and environmental benefits of remanufacturing.

By publicizing the remanufacturing philosophy and by uniting leaders in many nations, GRIGA’s objective is to unite the industry, to speak in one voice, and to sustain a robust and steady demand for remanufactured imaging products around the globe.

Chairman Arnald Ho said, “Our industry needs to overcome many challenges and barriers if we still want to grow and expand our market. Instead of competing with each other, the companies that make up the industry should work together to create a larger pie for the industry as a whole to divide. In the meantime, most companies in our industry are small businesses without sufficient resources to run such an end-user oriented campaign. Therefore, the best way for us is to join hands and start with a project that is achievable.”

The subjects covered at this first Assembly included, market trends, regional industry updates, legal issues, biotoner and consumer choices.

John Shane, a Director of InfoTrends, J. M. Dassani, President of the Indian Cartridge Remanufacturers and Recyclers Association (ICRRA), and Dr. Aydan Bekirov, Publisher of RechargEast respectively, gave their overviews of markets in the US, Western Europe, India and Eastern Europe.

Mr. John Shane discussed the US, West European and Worldwide markets and trends for laser and inkjet supplies. First, he projected the share of aftermarket printer supplies would rise in several years and that color printing volume will also increase. However, aftermarket printer supplies seem to cause stability concerns among dealers and large distributors even though end-users would like to try aftermarket products. Second, the aftermarket printer supplies industry has a higher market share in low-end and monochrome machines. With the increasingly narrow use of monochrome products, the aftermarket printer supplies industry has to innovate and raise quality for survival in the future. Third, the rapid rise of management print services (MPS) is another factor that influences the market share of aftermarket printer supplies. Distribution changes and green issues were also covered by Mr. Shane.

Mr. J. M. Dassani, analyzed the Indian market for laser printers and consumables. India is an emerging market with special characteristics. According to DataQuest, in India the OEM market share is only 53% while refilled and remanufactured cartridges account for 42%. The gray or counterfeit market makes up for the remaining 5%. In terms of market share by brands, HP takes up 78% of market share; Samsung stands at 10%, and all others represent 12%. Mr. Dassani also pointed out there is a great potential for this industry in India because the market can at least remanufacture or refill 11.25 million cartridges per year.

The industry’s attention was drawn to biotoner by Chairman Art Diamond’s claim that the future of the industry may be brightened by biotoners. Biotoners have many advantages over conventional toner. For example, they are prepared from resins based on renewable resources (derivatives of corn, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, sugar beets and other grown and harvested plants). Therefore they help reduce the world’s dependency on crude oil. Biotoners are biodegradable when composted with organic material. They can also be decomposed by heat and moisture therefore they enable easier de-inking of toner from recycled office waste paper. Diamond also emphasized that biotoners offer the remanufacturing industry a chance to lead instead of follow the aftermarket supplies industry. Joined in the discussion was Velliyur Sankaran of Sankaran Consulting, an expert in toner development and material integration with high-speed laser and LED printers. He provided more data and information regarding the bioresins used in biotoner. 

Because biotoner is still quite new to many in the industry, the topic has raised much interest and discussion. During the round-table discussion, there was a heated debate over whether or not biotoner is suitable for aftermarket. But certainly, it is something new for the remanufacturing industry to explore, especially since monochrome biotoners are commanding premium prices and thicker profit margins than standard monochrome toner based on petroleum-based resins.   

Mr. Arnald Ho, one of the Chairmen of GRIGA, also Chairman of the Printer Consumables Committee of China and Chairman of Print-Rite Holdings Ltd., addressed the Assembly on the theme “Breaking the siege of the remanufacturing industry.”  His talk focused on the impact of OEM smart chips on the remanufacturing industry. Mr. Ho put forward the idea that consumers be educated to choose those printers that “support environmental protection, remanufactured consumables and fair competition and have none of these chips that lock-out competitive supplies”. He also reported that Print-Rite was pushing forward the government purchasing of aftermarket printer supplies and that the industry should unite in order to strive for a better future.

Another hot topic that was widely discussed concerns patent issues, not just because there are a number of pending lawsuits between OEMs and aftermarket consumable suppliers, but because of a real need to incorporate patent consciousness and patent savvy into the future development of the aftermarket supplies industry. These discussions were divided between the validity of existing patents that are said to be infringed, and the abuse of the patent system by OEMs with unlimited financial resources charging less affluent rechargers with violation of patents having questionable validity.

GRIGA has won huge support from both businesses in the industry and media around the world. Representatives from regional and international associations in the industry were in attendance from China, Europe, India, Japan, the UK and the US. GRIGA also gained support from companies like Clover, Future Graphics, Imex, Ninestar, OCP, Print-Rite, Static Control and others.
Steve Weedon, CEO of Static Control Components (Europe) Limited, and Executive Vice President of Static Control Components, Inc. discussed obstacles ahead of the industry and how to deal with them after first reviewing the efforts Static Control has exerted to better the industry. He stressed that Static Control would continue to support the industry by remaining active in GRIGA and developing new technology and introducing innovative products.

As this charter event was held in China, it caught the attention of a large of number of mass media reaching an audience of millions. The supporting media include China’s largest websites such as Yesky.com, IT168, Sina.com, QQ.com etc. Both Yesky.com and IT168.com, two of China’s largest IT websites for end-users, broadcast the entire event online. It has also been reported that the number of viewers of the event reached a record high for both of the websites. News coming out of the GRIGA meeting was also covered by local and national newspapers, websites and TV stations. It is believed that GRIGA enjoyed the widest media coverage in the industry so far.

GRIGA needs continuous support and contributions from the industry. If you have any opinions and suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@therecycler.com.cn 

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